From the Desk of Kelly Harmon

February 2015 Newsletter

Dear Educator,

The fact that you are reading this newsletter is a true testament to your passion for learning and teaching. We hope to empower you with new ideas this month that are easy and innovative. We appreciate all you do for your students and want you to know that you are truly making a difference. Keep up the good work!

-Kelly Harmon & Randi Anderson

The Month of Love

Valentine's Day is always a favorite among students. This year take Valentine's cards to the next level. Use the app Pic Collage (it's free!) to create 21st century Valentines! Students can write messages, record video messages, or upload pictures to their Valentines. Pic Collage has a variety of fun fonts and stickers for students to spruce up their cards. Your students will love being able to create a personal Valentine for someone special!

Educators can upload Valentine Pic Collages to class websites or Facebook pages to share with parents and peers. Don't have a way to upload? No problem! Print out student's collages and display on a Valentine's Day themed bulletin board.

Check out PicCollage HERE!

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Genre Focus of the Month: Nonfiction

Teaching students to process information texts is crucial. After all, most of the reading we do outside of the classroom is nonfiction (i.e. the newspaper, websites, blogs, etc.). The subject-specific vocabulary and author's craft can be difficult to decode and comprehend. Students need to be given strategies and opportunities to deepen their understanding of nonfiction texts. Here are some areas to focus on with students. Get the anchor charts for nonfiction here!

1. Types of Nonfiction

Students need to know the three basic types of nonfiction- expository, persuasive, and procedural. Giving students examples and opportunities to explore each type is beneficial.

2. Structure

The way an author organizes their writing tells the reader a lot about the meaning of the text. Teaching students text structures will help to them to better comprehend the author's purpose and intended meaning.

3. Text Features

Text features are great tools that can deepen your understanding of the text. Text features give information about the main topic. It may be a graph, caption, or timeline that provides the needed information and connects to ideas within the text. Teach students to determine why the author has included the feature and explain what ways it has aided in their comprehension of the selection.

Check out our Nonfiction Literacy Centers HERE!

Feature Teacher of the Month

Gena Ozment is a 6th grade ELAR teacher at Dodd City Elementary in Dodd City, Texas. She has 15 years of experience in education. Mrs. Ozment's passion for children and teaching are evident in her classroom. She is an outstanding educator that we would like to recognize this month!

Mrs. Ozment used our Reading Response Activities Chart as a center in her classroom.

"I have used several activities from Texas Literacy Resources this year. They have been great for stations and small group intervention. The Reading Response Activities are really great for older students because they give them the opportunity of choice in response to literature they read independently, and they can vary responses from week to week. I am able to determine quickly if they are comprehending what they are reading. I also like the fact that I can edit it to add activities relating to what we are currently focusing on in class." -Gena Ozment

Kudos to Mrs. Ozment for using using higher level and differentiated activities with her students!

Want to be our Feature Teacher of the Month? Email us and tell us how you have used ideas or a product from Texas Literacy Resources. we would love to feature YOU!

Teaching Students to Write a Thesis Statement

One of the hardest skills a developing writer must learn is how to establish and convey a message about their experience, topic or belief. This seems especially difficult when students seem to lack background knowledge and vocabulary needed to articulate the message. Read more..

Making Inferences

Teaching students to use metacognitive reading skills to understand an author’s message can be challenging if instruction and practice isn’t carefully planned. Read more...

Read Across America Day

"Oh the places you will go!"- Dr. Seuss

Monday, March 2nd, is Read Across America Day and Dr. Seuss' birthday! This day is dedicated to promoting literacy. Schools across the nation will hold activities devoted to celebrating the fun of reading.

Here are some ideas for how to host Read Across America Day in your school or classroom!

1. Dress Like a Character

The Cat in the Hat and Cindy Loo are pretty easy to pull off. Keep it simple, but fun!

2. Guest Readers

Throughout the day, read Dr. Seuss’ books and discuss the theme of each book. What is the topic of the book? How did Dr. Seuss feel about the topic? What is your evidence?

3. Virtual Scavenger Hunt

Have students go on a virtual scavenger hunt on Dr. Seuss' very own website! Students will be reading for a purpose and practicing nonfiction comprehension skills. Click HERE to get a scavenger hunt form.

4. Put on a Play!

Perform a Dr. Seuss reader’s theater for another class. Get Green Eggs and Ham Here!

Most importantly have fun with reading!

-Randi Anderson

App of the Month

RWT Timeline Application

By International Reading Association

Use the RWT (ReadWriteThink) Timeline app to create visual representations for projects or assignments. Students can build timelines to illustrate the life of a famous individual or their own personal life. This app is great for teaching students sequential order and how to read and analyze timelines as text features. This app is FREE and easy to use.

A Flipped Lesson for Reading Fluency

In a flipped lesson, the explicit instruction, or focus lesson, is recorded by the teacher and viewed online by the students for homework. In elementary classrooms, the focus lesson may not be homework, but rather, viewed on iPads or computers in class while the teacher works with other students. The purpose of a flipped lesson is to deliver the critical content for a learning target via video so that students can watch and replay if necessary. Reading more...

Click here for our fluency rubric.

YouTube News-February Playlists

Use music and karaoke to create a fun way to build reading fluency and practice critical reading skills. Here is our Valentine's Day playlist with songs about love.

Did you know that read alouds and author interviews are available on YouTube? Here are two playlists to check out.

Learn History

Read Alouds for February

Want to download the videos from YouTube to your computer? Click here for directions.

Need ideas for using karaoke to practice critical reading skills? Click here for ideas.

Upcoming Workshops

More Workshops

Two Day Intensive Title I Conference

May 14-15, 2015

Chicago, IL

Building Expertise: Journey to Rigor Conference

June 17-19, 2015

Orlando, FL

The most important thing you can do for your students in 2015 is to set them on the road to rigorous learning. That’s why we’ve designed this year’s conference, at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, June 17-19, to share the foundational knowledge, the expert educators, and the tools and resources to get you geared up for a Journey to Rigor.

2015 Summer Learning Conference (3 Day)

June 23rd-26th, 2015

San Antonio, TX

More Information Coming Soon!!!!!

The Marzano Center Essentials of Rigor is Coming to San Antonio!

Join your colleagues on February 17th at ESC-20 for a day of exploring essential strategies that prepare your students for the cognitively complex tasks presented on the STAAR and EOC tests. The Essentials of Achieving Rigor is a comprehensive instructional framework based on Dr. Robert Marzano's research of pedagogical strategies. From kindergarten to high school, these strategies help teachers design meaningful, student-centered instruction. You will definitely leave this workshop wanting more! Click here to register for the day.

Visit the Marzano Center website to download the white paper on Teaching with Rigor to learn more. I'd love to talk to you about how this instructional framework can complement your current curriculum and assessment program. Please contact me for more information. ~Kelly

Bring Our Training or Expertise to Your Campus!

Kelly Harmon & Associates are available to visit and train at your campus or district. Bring one of our workshops to your campus or we can customize a training to meet the needs of your educators and students. Call for more information today! (817) 583-1290

We are Changing Our Name! Texas Literacy Resources changes to Kelly Harmon & Associates

We are an educational consulting firm that specializes in providing literacy-based staff development, coaching, and curriculum planning for campuses and districts. We provide professional learning opportunities on a variety of topics and can customize learning based on your needs. Because we are growing and providing consulting to schools across the nation and in Canada, we've changed our name to Kelly Harmon & Associates. Be sure to stay in touch through our website